“Let’s just do one more episode.”
Lately, that had been Dan’s refrain when it started to get late. He didn’t want to go to bed because he hadn’t felt like himself in a long time. He had zero energy, or even any real desire, for sex. But he didn’t want to admit that to his girlfriend. Most of the time, he didn’t want to admit it even to himself. And so, night after night, he redirected their attention until both were too tired and the issue was moot.
Of course, this wasn’t a good long-term strategy. In fact, it isn’t a strategy at all. It just kept intensifying Dan’s anxiety that he was disappointing his partner and that he was losing a vital part of himself. He missed the intimacy but felt paralyzed and feared that addressing it would be too painful for both of them.
Dan’s story isn’t unusual. Millions of men struggle with low sex drive, and loss of libido becomes more common as you age. However, while some men welcome the waning of their sexual appetite, for others it is deeply painful and disruptive. What’s more, a sharp drop in desire could be a sign that something bigger is amiss. As such, understanding the roots of your low libido can help you find the solution that’s right for you.
Why We Should Talk About Men’s Low Libido
In our culture, a man’s sex drive is practically taken for granted and the waning of that drive is often seen as a personal tragedy, a weakness, or a source of amusement. As such, loss of libido can be difficult to talk about, even with those you trust most. Unfortunately, this silence could set the stage for conflict and distance in your intimate relationship and profoundly impact your sense of self.
Of course, if you are comfortable with a lower sex drive, that can be perfectly fine. If you maintain good communication about your desires and needs and are happy with your situation, a low libido may not present an issue. It is up to individuals and their partners to navigate the waters of libido, whatever that means for each person. But if you want to keep your sex drive alive and don’t like that it has slowed down, there are potential remedies. Additionally, a low libido—welcome or not—could be the canary in the mineshaft that signifies other health problems.
Exploring Men’s Low Libido Solutions
There are many possible causes of low libido in men, and these can overlap and amplify each other. Understanding what lies behind the decrease in your drive is essential to addressing it in the best way possible.
Any long-term relationship will have its sexual ups and downs. But there are meaningful reasons your relationship might be a contributing cause of your low libido, including:
- Sexual incompatibility
- Lack of communication
- Underlying sexual issues
- Lack of trust
- Unresolved conflict
While none of these are a direct physical reason for low libido, they can contribute to disinterest in sex.
Communication, openness, and honesty may help you rekindle (or kindle for the first time) your sexual spark. But you don’t have to navigate these difficult waters alone; seeing a counselor can help you be honest with yourselves and each other and give you direction as you seek to understand and resolve your relationship issues.
Mental Health Issues
Mental health disorders and general emotional well-being can affect your sex drive. In particular, the following are commonly associated with low libido:
It is well-known that stress and anxiety can quickly kill a sex drive and these days, we’re all pretty stressed. Indeed, many forms of emotional distress that are not manifestations of mental health disorder can strip you of your interest in sex. At the same time, a significant proportion of men do live with a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their lives. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 5.3% of men experience a major depression in a given year and 14.3% of men experience an anxiety disorder.
If your low sex drive is rooted in mental health, seeing a psychiatrist, therapist, or counselor could be life-changing. Whether you need support in managing daily stress or a comprehensive treatment plan for a mental health disorder, these professionals can give you the guidance you need to restore emotional and behavioral wellness.
Of course, your libido can suffer from some types of psychotropic medications, including SSRIs. If you are in treatment and have found that your medication is interfering with your sex drive, talk to your doctor about your options. You may be able to change your medication, adjust your dose, add medications that are known to reduce sexual side effects, or try other modalities. Your sex life is an important part of your overall quality of life and low libido does not have to be an inevitable part of treatment.
Physical Health Problems
Just as your emotional health informs your desire, so too does your physical health. While the range of health conditions that could potentially affect your sex drive is virtually endless, the following are particularly likely to disrupt your libido:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
Needless to say, all of these are problems completely independent of your sex drive and can present significant physiological and psychological risks. Proper diagnosis, medical treatment, and healthy lifestyle changes are essential to address the condition, protect your long-term health, and restore your libido.
Testosterone is intimately tied to sex drive, and clinically low levels of this critical hormone almost always result in low libido. While low testosterone can happen at any point in life, your risk of experiencing low T increases as you age, potentially leaving you to struggle with a host of symptoms that interfere with how you feel and function.
In most cases, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is considered to be the best treatment for low testosterone. It’s important to understand that this doesn’t mean over-the-counter testosterone “boosters”. While such boosters claim to increase testosterone production, they do not actually contain testosterone, are poorly regulated, and typically have weak evidence for their use. TRT, however, is a proven way of supplementing your body’s natural hormone levels and providing relief from low T symptoms, including low libido.
Indeed, as noted by researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine, “Testosterone therapy has also shown consistent benefit in improving libido in men with low testosterone levels at baseline, with no additional improvements once testosterone levels are normalized.” Both of those lines are important. Normalizing your testosterone levels can help with sex drive. But anything claiming to skyrocket your libido by making your hormones out of balance in the other direction is not rooted in sound science.
To ensure you are getting the right treatment using the best products, it’s therefore important to work with a health care practitioner who specializes in hormone health and can help you understand the pros and cons of testosterone therapy. Additionally, while low libido is often one of the most noticeable symptoms of low testosterone, low T can pose a range of significant risks, including depression, osteoporosis, and obesity. Correct treatment is essential to minimize these risks.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy to Get Back to Being Yourself
Loss of libido can be painful. You might feel ashamed and your confidence may be shaken. You might suffer a loss of connection with your partner. You might be afraid to date or meet new people. You might, above all, just miss having the sex drive that was once a vital part of your life. If you are feeling like this, you need to figure out what is going on. By reaching out to the right supports, you can ensure you get the guidance you need to uncover the root of your low libido and create the right strategy for moving forward.
If you are struggling with low sex drive related to hormonal changes, BodyLogicMD can help. The BodyLogicMD network is comprised of top medical professionals specializing in hormone health and hormone replacement therapy. A BodyLogicMD-affiliated practitioner will design a personalized treatment plan to address your symptoms and help you achieve your health goals using the best therapies available today. Contact a local practitioner to schedule your first appointment, or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz today.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.